Motorcycle Instructors self-preservation rules:
Teaching is a vocational skill & one will naturally develop your own unique style.
You need to be aware from the start, a reputation will be formed & you’ll be judged by colleagues, other schools & more importantly the DVSA, or devious A as they are known.
The DVSA are a government department, & as such are pretty cold, emotionless & can be unfriendly especially if they receive a complaint about you, this will happen on numerous occasions whether justified or even factual.
No matter how good, professional & clean you think your instructor file may be, at some point in your career someone will be unhappy about something you may or may not have done & they will contact one of the frontline DVSA staff. One particularly undesirable untrustworthy two faced bitch to be aware of is Joanna Denning, secretary to Mark Magee the CBT registrar. Both operate in a God like manner & use their position of immense power to full effect & can swipe their wand of wrath upon you with devastating consequences without a care for an instructor or his career means absolutely to them. To them you are just a number that can be scrubbed out of existence.
Dealing with DVSA:
The DVSA is NOT your friend & should in no way be trusted to support or side with you if a complaint or accusation is made against you. In reality, absolutely anyone can make an accusation or a claim about anything about a training school or an instructor & do not have to prove or substantiate any wrong doing for their claim to be taken seriously. In my opinion the DVSA do not ever conduct themselves in a fair way, in fact, to cover their arses you are deemed guilty, hung drawn & quartered before you’ve even had the chance to reply which I may add, must always without fail be in written form via letter & sent via recorded signed for delivery just so you have a record of when they received it as they are not in any way quick to reply, within 28 days is the guideline but they can change this to suit themselves. Whenever you call them make sure you record the conversation for future reference, as when it suits them are quick to deny what they have said & lie.
I was teaching before the CBT was introduced in 1990 & have personally known instructors who have had their instructors licence revoked permanently with absolutely no proof supplied of any accusations made against them, which has rendered their careers over in the blink of an eye. This kind of behaviour in which the DVSA operate could not happen in any other work environment, as permanent dismissal without any form of recourse would be unlawful.
Dealing with trainees:
Always deal in a friendly & professional manner & cover yourself by not missing out any must cover information from the CBT syllabus. Trainees are not your buddies & if push comes to shove, they will drop you in it without a care just to save themselves.
The majority of trainees don’t want to be there any longer than they have to as all they want is the DL196 CBT certificate, & some will go as far as to offer a sum of money just to obtain the certificate, especially if it’s a renewal. In my opinion if they’ve been riding for two years they shouldn’t have to sit through the classroom elements as there’s no point.
Be aware that the element E road ride is to be a minimum of 2 hours. In your own interest do not cut this short as there is a risk that a trainee could contact the DVSA & you’ll be in serious trouble. It is known the DVSA, if have suspicions about a school will plant a fake trainee to try & catch an instructor out, & you will have no way of knowing until the end when they reveal who they are & take your instructor licence from you.
During element C:
The off road riding, after a while you’ll be able to make a decision within 10 minutes whether a trainee is confident enough to ride on the road. If in any doubt do not take the chance. If they cannot show they are in complete control of the bike in a controlled safe car park, it will be 100 times worse out on the road with other vehicles to deal with.
Back yourself up:
As mentioned covering yourself anyway you can is a must. I used to video element C & E, keeping the recording. I also used to plug my radio audio feed into a digital recorded & have a bike mounted camera so both trainees were filmed for the duration so everything was captured. If a trainee drives headfirst into a wall, they will try & blame you anyway they can especially when the school pursues them for damage to the bike.
Don’t even think about attending Cardington until you are confident that you know a CBT inside out, backwards & can start at any given point within an element as the actual assessment is only sections & not from A to D. You will be paired off & will work in an instructor or observer roll where the examiner will play the trainee & you’ll have to teach him in a pre-defined scenario. For example, he will tell you that he has trouble changing gear, so you’ll be expected to explain & correct what he’s doing wrong & maybe provide a demo, so make sure your demos are excellent, to the point & you can actually ride a 125cc, usually a YBR.
You’ll also have to play the part of an observer whereby the other trainee instructor will play the part of teaching the examiner & you’ll have to take notes & at the end give a summary of how you think they did. Don’t make the mistake of trying to destroy the instructor by nit picking every little thing they did or didn’t cover to try & make yourself look good. It really doesn’t work that way & the examiner will mark you down. The bottom line is, did the trainee understand what he needed to do & was the objective achieved. If the answer is yes then it’s job done. Everyone has their own way of teaching & it will no doubt be different to yours but it’s still acceptable. Lastly, exude confidence but don’t be cocky, be precise & concise so if you can explain something in a sentence, don’t ramble on for 10 minutes as it’s boring & dull.
Sending your Driving licence to DVLA:
If you have to do this, take a picture of the front & rear of your licence for your records & proof of what categories you have. This actually happened to me! In October 2014 I sent my licence to change my address & when I got it back, some idiot had removed my bike category A, which meant I couldn’t instruct until I re-took my MOD1 & 2 again, so I lost over Two Thousand pounds lost income. I told the DVLA I passed my bike test in 1982 & had been an instructor for decades but they wouldn’t have it, & as I had no documentary evidence & the DVLA wouldn’t supply any records I was stuffed. So I have absolutely zero faith in either the DVLA or DVSA.